Win square funds over DA backlog cut

A VIBRANT new civic square in Merrylands is on its way, courtesy of Cumberland City Council’s improved development application turnaround times.

The $11 million civic square will receive $5.5 million from the $250m NSW Public Spaces Legacy Program and recognises the council’s efforts to reduce development application processing times from the third longest in the state to among the best in the state. In exchange for funding, councils participating in the program needed to speed up their assessment times.
The program incentivised councils to accelerate their assessments of development applications (DAs) and rezonings to meet demand for housing and employment over the next decade.
The council agreed in March 2021 to sign the funding agreement for the design and delivery of the civic square. The new civic square will create an open and green meeting place in the heart of Merrylands.
“It will connect Merrylands Road through to McFarlane Street to create a focal point and sense of community in the town centre,” Mayor Christou said.
“After the council mergers, we inherited a significant backlog of development applications.
“However, we have an experienced and dedicated team that has been making improvements to our planning processes, systems and controls and it’s good to see that this is translating into results as the median processing time continues to decrease.”
The square is also part of broader infrastructure upgrades in the Merrylands Town Centre, including better stormwater systems to reduce flooding and upgraded high voltage electricity to cater for future development.